Saudi Arabia has become the latest country to restrict the use of open loop scrubbers in its ports.
A circular issued by the Saudi Ports Authority on 19 August, 2020, calls for the prevention of the discharge of washwater from ships with open loop types of exhaust gas clearing systems (EGCS) “until an environmental standard is issued”.
Earlier in August, the Standard Club advised that Oman has banned the use of open-loop scrubbers in its territorial waters, meaning only closed-loop scrubbers or hybrid scrubbers used in closed-loop mode can be used.
Restrictions or bans on using open loop scrubbers have been reported in certain ports or territorial waters, including China (territorial waters), Singapore (within port limits), Malaysia (territorial waters), Pakistan (within port limits) UAE (Fujairah and Abu Dhabi port limits), Bahrain (within port limits), Egypt (Suez Canal), Gibraltar (local waters), Spain (port of Algeciras), Portugal (port waters), France (certain ports), Belgium (ports and inland waters), Ireland (port waters in Cork, Dublin and Waterford), Scotland (ports on the Forth and Tay), Norway (heritage fjords), Sweden (port of Brofjorden), Germany (seaports adjacent to inland waterways and inland waterways), Lithuania (port waters) Bermuda (territorial waters), Panama (the Panama Canal) and the USA (Connecticut port waters and Californian waters)
Earlier this year, there was a call during an IMO meeting for the development of a centralised database detailing local/regional restrictions/conditions on the discharge water from EGCS.
Such a database would presumably be managed by the IMO, and would require all member States to report on specific restrictions in ports and/or clearly designated waters under their jurisdiction.